To see a longer version of the Saturday Night Live's minstrel show ramed by white Fox News reporters commentary conveying total obliviousness to said racist performance, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ya39slPgs
To view the full minstrel show, go to: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/
BlackButch's Resistive commentary:) on Governor Sarah Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live.
1st) Phoeler and SNL get a laugh from an audience that includes (but is not limited to) white liberals and white conservatives -- and it is worth noting that SNL's audience/viewers is overwhelmingly white and liberal -- by performing "blackness." A pregnant, wealthy blond white woman (Amy Phoeler) holds a microphone and does a rap song -- using an *affected* voice, one that conveys a stereotypical (so called) "black dialect" -- or vernacular associated with African Americans -- as lights go low and flash in hip-hop/disco style. Phoeler apes the movement of a rapper -- a genre of music viewed as "black: -- she "spits" rhymes that mock (?) Governor Sarah Palin who bops along as the minstrel performance drags on. Palin doesn't end up looking so bad when all is said and done -- now, I am convinced that she is a very good actor -- she definitely rehearsed her "lines" for the VP debate.
Phoeler, Palin, and SNL does all this just to make white folks laugh.
Because, let's face it, the intended audience for this skit is *not* African Americans. In fact, I don't believe the intended audience for this skit is any person of color.
The intended audience for white folks performing blackness is always white folks.
White performances of blackness -- and black performances of "blackness" (via mainstream hip-hop music, for example) -- on a commercial level and individual level (an individual level -- like when a white person greets another white person -- or regrettably -- a black person -- using stereotypical "black speech" such as "Holla!" or uses terms like "baby mama" -- cuz that's what "we" do now. (Here is some really good advice for any white person reading this blog -- don't do that. It's annoying and racist. Why is a white person's use of stereotypical "black" speech racist? In part, because many black folks perceive the use of such terms by people who know one or two black people or people who have only seen black people on TV as mockery. But even more importantly, because non-blacks' use of stereotypical "black speech" occurs in rigidly segregated settings -- not just high school cafeteria tables but in all-white or mostly white suburban neighborhoods where middle, upper-middle, and upper class youth, for example, access a quality of education, health care, and even grocery store food products that the vast majority of people of color *do not* have access to because of where they live. The inability to access quality education will mean that most poor, working-class and lower-middle class people of color will *not* go to college, and thus, acquire a middle & high income job that would help them leave poverty. In many communities, black girls & boys are far more likely to go to prison than they are to graduate high school and attend college. Moreover, the inability to access high quality grocery store food products means that many people of color will suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes at far greater rates than white middle & upper class people *and* they will not have access to the quality of health care it would require to treat diseases that are far more manageable and even curable in middle and upper class settings. Health care, food goods, education are just a few of the resources that are tied to a person's geographic location. Where poor, working-class and lower-middle class people of color live is determined, in large part, by a history of institutional racism -- deeply enmeshed with classism & sexism -- that has produced generational poverty, for example).
That's why the way in which race, class, gender, sexual (etc.,) oppression operates on a cultural and discursive level matters so much. Performances of blackness like the one on SNL reflect and maintain prosperous white audiences ignorance of institutional race/class inequality, *and* thus, desensitize them to the salience of these issues -- issues that make or break the lives of millions in the U.S. and around the world.
Phoeler and Fey had a hit film called "Baby Mama" where Phoeler performed stereotypes of "blackness" and poor/working-class whiteness -- cuz it was so fuckin' great!! to see the economic hardship of poor and working-class white folks elevated to the level of pure comedy in a upper-middle class white context. And, you know, "Baby Mama" wasn't really racist -- because there was a black man in the film who also performed stereotypes of blackness for a white audience (isn't that great!!). It's all perfectly okay then. (Again, please detect dripping sarcasm).
Again, who is the intended audience for a film like "Baby Mama?"
Not poor and working-class white folks.
Because middle and upper-class people (who are mostly white) are laughing *at* middle and upper class white people performing a stereotype of poor and working-class "whiteness."
But the movie industry can pump out films like "Baby Mama" (& "Soul Man" & "Tropic Thunder" & "She's The Man" & "Juno" -- "Juno's" cute, young, white characters struggling with teen pregnancy routinely use stereotypical black vernacular throughout the film -- it's just adorable (not really) -- & the TV sitcom "Scrubs"...the list goes on an on) -- a white dominated entertainment industry can keep producing films and tv shows like "Baby Mama" because "we" are not racist -- "we" no longer live in a racist society -- or at least, not a severely racist society because a black man might be president in 2 weeks! I mean, he -- a black man -- beat Hillary Clinton, a white woman, in the primaries -- that proves racism is dead or not a big problem anymore -- but sexism! sexism lives on! (Please detect dripping
sarcasm here -- the *mainstream* white feminist party line in context of the 2008 presidential election).
Please note: SNL could've chosen to use country music as the backdrop for Palin's appearance (says my queer Femme white girlfriend -- a person I regard as a white ally, a person committed to the struggle against racism). SNL could've used a country music skit to, you know, "promote" Palin implicitly? inadvertently? quite deliberately? SNL could've used a form of music that is stereotyped as "white." Or SNL could've used 80s glam rock(Poison style) or 90s grunge -- but no, it had to be rap music. Because white people performing stereotypes of blackness is fucking hilarious, right.
I use the term "promote" to characterize SNL's decision to provide Palin airtime because I view her appearance on the politically liberal SNL as a deliberate attempt to draw conservative viewers (which is clearly great for McCain as the presidential election grows near), soothe any ill feelings provoked due to Fey's (and thus, SNL's) harsh parodies ridiculing and denigrating Palin, which results in a steadily (or increasingly) sexy bottom line -- higher ratings pulls advertisers, advertisements pull big fat juice billions of dollars.
2nd) Phoeler, Palin, and SNL does not stop at using racism to stereotype African Americans implicitly via Phoeler's rap skit -- 2 young men viewers are supposed to read as Alaska Natives or Inuits, i.e., the descendants of people indigenous to the colonized territory now called "Alaska" (a piece of the larger colonized mass of land now called the "United States" and "North America"), appear as props -- human props -- to the *cute* pregnant, blond white woman who is "getting her minstrel on," another white male actor and Sarah Palin -- the woman charged with serving and protecting the interests of the indigenous people in the state that she governs... I wonder what Alaska Natives have to say about Palin's "rule?" Ah, right... the voices of Alaska Natives are not represented in mainstream U.S. American media. But we hear Palin's voice, and Pholer's, and Feys'... SNL's voice in the cultural mainstream is loud and clear. SNL is in a position to say something about the lives of Alaska Natives.
And SNL viewers -- the majority of whom have never seen an Inuit -- are supposed to understand that all Inuits do not reflect the stereotype embedded in the minds of most U.S. Americans, which is that all Alaska Natives or Inuits are "Eskimos" who wear animal skin to keep them warm because they live on ice masses and inhabit igloos.
Uber informed SNL viewers -- the vast majority of whom draw their information about the world from a Euro-centric/white-centric U.S. American educational system -- is supposed to understand that Alaska Natives/Inuits have been subjected to the same long, bloody history of U.S. imperialism that resulted in the drastic depopulation (or mass murder) of people indigenous to "the Americas" -- just so Europeans could make "contact" (isn't that a cute term!) or "settle" or "expand" (more cute terms!) which refers to, in part, the implementation of systematic slavery (then Jim Crow and neo-slavery carried out, in part, through a racist prison system) and ignore the mass murder of black men and boys as wells as the organized rape of black women and girls, strip white women of voting rights until 1920 and deprive people of color living in the South of voting rights until 1964, and colonial wars that the U.S. government takes overseas once they have subdued the last group of indigenous people at Wounded Knee through mass murder (and decades later during the American Indian Movement of the 1960s -- one leader, Leonard Peltier, is still in jail for "crimes" he did not commit -- including of crime for pursuing the so called inalienable, inherited right to full freedom for him and all indigenous people).
So, "all the mavericks in the house" -- are you putting your hands up?